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Using the drop-down menu below, read about highlighted scientific news from ASCO's Annual Meetings since 2002. You can select a specific year and/or a specific topic, such as a type of cancer. Selecting "All" will take you to a complete list of articles that appear under all categories.
The 2013 ASCO Annual Meeting is set for May 31-June 4, with research news beginning to be released on May 15 at 6pm Eastern. Additional research will be released each day of the meeting.
To read these summaries categorized into a yearly newsletter, you can also review Cancer Advances: News for Patients from the ASCO Annual Meeting.
Don’t forget to check out audio podcasts and videos about this news, as well. And, in addition to the highlighted studies below, thousands of scientific abstracts are released each year at the ASCO Annual Meeting. To search the entire collection of meeting abstracts, visit ASCO's website.
In two separate studies, researchers found that two new drugs belonging to a group of drugs called PARP inhibitors may help treat some types of breast cancer. PARP inhibitors stop cancer cells from repairing damage from chemotherapy, which may make cancer cells more sensitive to chemotherapy.
Researchers found that patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors had no or low levels of a protein called MSH2, benefitted more from chemotherapy after surgery than patients with high levels of MSH2. Cancer cells use the MSH2 protein to repair damage from chemotherapy with cisplatin (Platinol). Patients with low MSH2 levels who received chemotherapy with cisplatin lived about 16 months longer than those who did not receive chemotherapy. Patients with high MSH2 levels who received chemotherapy lived for about 9 months less than those who did not receive chemotherapy. This study also showed that measuring MSH2 levels and levels of another protein called ERCC1 was better able to predict which patients would benefit from chemotherapy after surgery. ERCC1 is a previously identified protein that also repairs damage to tumor cells. Patients with low levels of both proteins who received chemotherapy lived 26 months longer than those who did not receive chemotherapy.
A second report from the CCSS found that not enough survivors of childhood cancer receive screening for colon, skin, and breast cancers. Cancer treatment, especially radiation therapy, may increase the risk of a second cancer. Among the childhood cancer survivors with a higher risk of developing a second cancer, almost 12% received a colonoscopy as recommended, about 46% had a mammogram within two years of treatment, and almost 27% had a skin exam. The study also showed that childhood cancer survivors who had a higher risk of a second cancer were more likely to be screened for breast and skin cancer if they were being cared for at a cancer center.
A new report from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) showed that childhood cancer survivors were almost five times more likely to have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than their siblings who did not have cancer as children. However, the risk of PTSD for childhood cancer survivors was low, with 9% experiencing PTSD as adults. PTSD was more common for people who were diagnosed with cancer between ages 15 and 20 and for those who had longer and more intensive chemotherapy or radiation therapy. PTSD was less common for people who had neuroblastoma, which is more common for young children who may not remember treatment. It was also less common for people who had Wilms' tumor, which is often treated with surgery.
Recent research compared treatments for locally advanced cervical cancer and the effect of different lymph node (tiny, bean-shaped organs that help fight infection) removal techniques for early-stage cervical cancer. Another study looked at when to start treatment for ovarian cancer recurrence. In addition, a national survey provided information about discussing fertility preservation.
A new study shows that patients who received a specialized treatment vaccine with interleukin-2 (IL-2; a standard treatment for advanced melanoma) for melanoma that has spread to other parts of the body lived almost five months longer than patients who received only IL-2. The vaccine used in this study is made from part of a protein (substance in the body that helps it to function) found on melanoma cells that helps the cancer grow. This study also showed that treatment caused the melanoma to stop growing or shrink for more than twice as many patients who received the vaccine and IL-2 than those who received only IL-2.
Two studies showed that treatment with targeted therapy drugs (drugs that target the faulty genes and proteins that contribute to cancer growth) slowed the growth and spread of advanced NSCLC.
New research shows advances in the treatment of colorectal, anal, pancreatic, gastric, and rectal cancer.
Patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who received the drug pemetrexed (Alimta) as maintenance therapy (treatment given after chemotherapy to keep the cancer from growing and spreading) lived three to five months longer than patients who did not receive the drug, according to a new study. This study also confirmed that the benefit of maintenance therapy is greater for patients with the nonsquamous type of NSCLC.
Researchers found that most patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (cancer that has spread outside of the colon or rectum) do not need surgery to remove the primary tumor unless it is causing problems. Removing the primary tumor when a person is diagnosed with metastatic colorectal cancer was once the standard treatment and is still common. Surgery has been used to prevent the tumor from blocking the intestines, creating a hole in the wall of the intestine, or causing bleeding. Chemotherapy is an effective treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer because it can often shrink both the primary tumor and the cancer that has spread to other areas.